Okay. So let’s say you put your whole heart into something.
You dig into your chest like you’re carving out a pumpkin, you scrape out every little piece of your heart, all the gunk and seeds, the stuff most people would keep private, and you put all that heart inside a THING.
You give yourself fully to this thing, this holder of your heart. You craft it, you shape it, you nurture and massage it.
You lose sleep, you chew your nails to the nubs, you go out on limbs, you die on hills, it makes you sick, you care so much. You could die, you care so much.
But an incredible thing happens: when you put your whole heart into the thing, you give everyone else permission to put their hearts into the thing too.
Soon the thing is full of hearts, bouncing and glowing and bright. Overflowing with blood-pumping ventricles is this thing, all following the beat of your brilliant, messy, beautiful, ugly heart.
But here’s the catch: when you put your whole heart into something, it leaves you very vulnerable. Careful, be careful, that thing has your whole heart!
There is no border between you and the thing, no protective membrane. This thing is as weird and hilarious and emotional and gross and clumsy and righteous as you are.
And as the thing with your heart in it enters the world, as scared and as brave as you made it, this is the truth: some people will not like it.
It is not for everybody, your heart.
But for some people, it will be like the song that’s been playing on repeat in the back of their heads their whole life suddenly has a voice.
And those people’s hearts will become full from the thing that is full of your heart.
But then when your thing “fails” based on an arbitrary metric beyond your control that was never explained to you, it is very very hard not to feel like you yourself have failed.
You will feel like your whole heart was not good enough, you will not have the comforting fiction of “Well, it’s okay, because I didn’t really try this time.”
You will feel open and exposed and raw. You will feel betrayed. You will feel guilty. You will feel like you were responsible for all of those hearts and you let them all down.
And maybe, if you were someone different, you would put a little less of your heart into the next thing. You would find a way to be less honest, less vulnerable, less you.
If you were really clever, you could figure out a way to portion out your heart by bits and maybe even make a nice little career out of it.
But you already know now that when the next thing comes, you will put your whole heart into it again.
As if you could ever not. As if you even had a choice.